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Trainspotting (1996)

R | | Drama | 9 August 1996 (USA)
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Renton, deeply immersed in the Edinburgh drug scene, tries to clean up and get out, despite the allure of the drugs and influence of friends.

Director:

Danny Boyle

Writers:

Irvine Welsh (based on the novel by), John Hodge (screenplay)
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Popularity
948 ( 125)
Top Rated Movies #153 | Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 23 wins & 33 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Ewan McGregor ... Renton
Ewen Bremner ... Spud
Jonny Lee Miller ... Sick Boy
Kevin McKidd ... Tommy
Robert Carlyle ... Begbie
Kelly Macdonald ... Diane
Peter Mullan ... Swanney
James Cosmo ... Mr. Renton
Eileen Nicholas ... Mrs. Renton
Susan Vidler ... Allison
Pauline Lynch Pauline Lynch ... Lizzy
Shirley Henderson ... Gail
Stuart McQuarrie ... Gavin / US Tourist
Irvine Welsh ... Mikey Forrester
Dale Winton ... Game Show Host
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Storyline

A wild, freeform, Rabelaisian trip through the darkest recesses of Edinburgh low-life, focusing on Mark Renton and his attempt to give up his heroin habit, and how the latter affects his relationship with family and friends: Sean Connery wannabe Sick Boy, dimbulb Spud, psycho Begbie, 14-year-old girlfriend Diane, and clean-cut athlete Tommy, who's never touched drugs but can't help being curious about them... Written by Michael Brooke <michael@everyman.demon.co.uk>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Choose life. Choose a job. Choose a starter home. Choose dental insurance, leisure wear and matching luggage. Choose your future. But why would anyone want to do a thing like that? See more »

Genres:

Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for graphic heroin use and resulting depravity, strong language, sex, nudity and some violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official Facebook | Official site

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

9 August 1996 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Trainspotting See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$3,500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$262,673, 21 July 1996

Gross USA:

$16,491,080

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$16,593,356
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (director's cut)

Sound Mix:

Dolby SR

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Tommy's last name was changed from Lawrence in the book to Mackenzie in the film. See more »

Goofs

The amount of beer on Begbie's shirt after making the heroin deal. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Mark "Rent-boy" Renton: [narrating] Choose Life. Choose a job. Choose a career. Choose a family. Choose a fucking big television, choose washing machines, cars, compact disc players and electrical tin openers. Choose good health, low cholesterol, and dental insurance. Choose fixed interest mortgage repayments. Choose a starter home. Choose your friends. Choose leisurewear and matching luggage. Choose a three-piece suit on hire purchase in a range of fucking fabrics. Choose DIY and wondering who the fuck ...
See more »

Crazy Credits

Profile pictures of the cast are shown during the beginning of the end credits. See more »

Alternate Versions

The UK cinema version was uncut but video versions were cut by 14 seconds by the BBFC and slightly edited the needle puncturing the skin during Renton's overdose scene. In 2002 these cuts were waived. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Hetty Wainthropp Investigates: How Time Flies (1998) See more »

Soundtracks

Perfect Day
Performed by Lou Reed
Words and Music by Lou Reed
Published by Screen Gems - EMI Music Ltd
Courtesy of BMG UK Ltd on behalf of BMG Music
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

A triumphant masterpiece
12 March 2008 | by ametaphysicalsharkSee all my reviews

Danny Boyle's "Trainspotting" is a film in which everything goes the right way. Few films are fortunate to 'be' at the right time and right place and take the world by storm as "Trainspotting" did, but the ultimate proof of this film's greatness is that if you watched it alone or with a large group of people, in 2008 or in 1996, it has the same effect- absolute power. This film is nothing more- or less- than one of the most effective and perfect artistic works ever committed to celluloid.

The film follows the lives of a group of drug attics in Scotland in the late 1980's but is constructed less as a conventional narrative and more as a series of vignettes connected by characters and set to the film's dazzling soundtrack (the fact that I mention the scenes being 'set' to the soundtrack is proof of its importance in this particular film). Almost every scene is as powerful as the next, with three montages in particular being possibly the definitive examples of how to do a memorable cinematic montage.

Pop culture has been kind to "Trainspotting", remembering it as a unique and great film, especially in Britain. I certainly do not disagree with this consensus, but I feel the film has been hurt by familiarity, with even television series like "Family Guy" parodying the film's well-known scenes (and badly). This doesn't mean that the film's popularity is being hurt, but that it doesn't feel as fresh and original to people now as it did back in 1996. This is hardly the thing the film's reputation suffers most from however, with the significantly large number of people who claim the film supports and promotes drug use. I have to ask, and forgive my rudeness, how stupid can you possibly be? No, drug addicts in this film are not vilified, but they are consistently shown in a brutally realistic and horrifically tragic context, and just because the film doesn't go out of its way to emotionally manipulate you into completely hating its characters doesn't mean that it promotes drug use, it means that it's a knowing film careful enough not to become a sappy, melodramatic Hollywood product.

The acting is phenomenal, the music is terrific, the film is a pitch-perfect example of energizing editing and brilliant use of montage, and its script is one of the best ever written, alternately hilarious, horrifying, tragic, and benefiting from a rare level of depth and resonance. A British classic is what Trainspotting is recognized as, and a British classic is what it is.

10/10


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